Do you have a digital learning community for your members?

One trend we’ve noticed at Compuco over the last year is an increasing demand for digital learning platforms. MemberWise’s recent Digital Excellence report indicates there has been a 12% increase in the number of membership organisations providing e-learning opportunities.

If you’re heavily focused on providing resources and education to your supporters, online communities can provide an excellent solution.

What are digital learning communities?

A digital learning community is an online space where your supporters can get together and learn more about topics relevant to their interests. This can be as simple as a Facebook group or it can evolve into a dedicated online platform.

Facebook groups are incredibly easy to set up and can provide a good starting point for smaller organisations. You can have a community up and running within the hour. However, it does face some notable issues such as a restrictive platform for customisation and contending with Facebook data policies, such as public group users being liable to receive targeted ads based on their engagement.

Dedicated communities on the other hand are more of an investment, but they can also see a greater return. You have far more flexibility, higher engagement rates and a space where people feel more able to have meaningful respectful conversations than traditional social media. Platforms such as the UN Development Programme’s SparkBlue are a great example of such a platform.

Image of UNDP SparkBlue community portal
UNDP SparkBlue - an example of an online community platform

Why they’re so powerful

Humans are by their nature social creatures. To varying degrees, collaborative learning has been consistently found to increase attainment. Traditional face to face training often features group interactions as a key strategy, whereas much digital learning has tended to be driven by individual learning.

Digital communities can bridge this grap, allowing learners to discuss ideas and come to a better understanding of topics. Having these conversations can result in a greater emotional investment in your platform and the learning experience, meaning users are far more likely to return for further discussions. Users can also highlight learning opportunities to one another organically, advancing mutual understanding with minimal input required from you.

It’s not just the social aspect of communities that are powerful however. From a data standpoint such communities can be invaluable. You can identify hot topics early, learn which subjects your members most want to understand better, and discover which topics your users seem least informed about. Along with more direct feedback, a community helps you build a strong learning programme custom built for what your members care about.

5 features offered by community platforms

If building a community offers significant benefits then what features do they typically offer?

1. Customisability

Being able to fully brand your platform is a significant advantage such platforms have over traditional social media platforms. Many platforms also afford you the opportunity to only enable the features you’re interested in, with the possibility of creating custom built solutions if your needs aren’t fully met out of the box.

2. Event integration

If you run a lot of events, one of the biggest challenges can be to properly convey and share the breadth of content with your audience. Allowing integration with the likes of Zoom, community sites can also provide filters to help users search through your content and make sure they find the most relevant events.

3. Groups

Within your community there are naturally going to be even more specific needs and interests. Groups are a perfect way to create areas within your community for members to discuss specific topics and to help you keep track of which issues members would like to hear more about.

Image of IATI Connect community portal
IATI Connect - another digital learning community

4. Courses

Sometimes you’ll want to build more than individual events and discussions and offer your members actual courses on specific topics. This is another great feature many community platforms offer. Your members can sign up to courses where you can create modules, set exams and provide a more indepth training experience.

5. Resource libraries

One of the most vital features of any learning community is the resources accessible to your community. Having a centralised filterable library makes it very easy for your users to find information relevant to their specific interests or needs without having to do an extensive search around your website.


In summary, when building a place for your members to learn, a strong community platform is one of the most effective methods available. Their collaborative nature alongside the depth of insights and different features available make them a highly potent tool for delivering knowledge.

If you’d like to learn more about building a digital learning community, Compuco works with Open Social to provide best in class implementations. For advice on how to get started, you can get in touch with us here or email us at